Sheffield man, 84, yet to receive Covid vaccine left fuming over rollout rate

A Sheffield man in his 80s has criticised the speed at which the vaccinations are being given out to vulnerable people in the city after being left in the dark about when he can expect to receive his.

Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 2:00 pm

Barry Hepburn, 84, of Mosborough, was hoping to receive the first dose of the vaccine before Christmas as he had been told ‘thousands’ in Sheffield had received theirs.

However, he received no information about when to expect his, and when he rang up his local GP surgery he was told they had no idea when they would have access to the vaccines.

This meant he remained without the vaccine for Christmas, which he had to spend alone rather than with family as he hoped.

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Barry Hepburn is angry that it is taking so long to vaccinate over 80s in Sheffield.

Mr Hepburn said: “Aged 84 I know that I am going to be one of the first to be vaccinated. Yet my doctor (Mosborough) could not tell me anything other than they are ‘still waiting to hear anything’ and , even worse, I would not be vaccinated until January.

“Yet we read and hear of ‘thousands being vaccinated’. I also know from family and friends around the UK that the vaccinations for over 80s is complete in many areas and they are moving on to the next group. What is going on?

“Someone has failed the Sheffield elderly and it is time they were held to account.”

Mr Hepburn's local GP is at Mosborough Helath Centre, which is yet to receive the vaccine.

A spokesperson for Sheffield CCG said that the city is not behind any other local authority area.

They said: “This is the biggest vaccination programme in UK history, which means the vaccination programme will potentially take a significant amount of time to roll out to all eligible people.

“It takes times for the supply of vaccinations to arrive as each batch has to be manufactured in Belgium and transported carefully to the UK.

“So far, Sheffield practices have received just less than 6,000 vaccines in a week but we have over 27,000 people aged 80 and over living in the city so it will take time to vaccinate everyone.”

The vaccination programme started at three GP practices in the city on December 16 and is expected to continue at a faster pace following the rollout of the Oxford vaccine.

The CCG spokesperson added: “The number of practices offering the vaccination will continue to increase into January.

“All patients who are eligible in line with the priority groups will be called for a vaccination and we would ask people to bear with us until it is their turn. We will be in touch with them directly.”

Mr Hepburn said: “I am fully aware there is a limited amount of vaccine available and the logistical problems of distributing and using it are immense, but Sheffield’s performance with the over 80s compared to the achievements in other areas is dismal.”

In a letter to Mr Hepburn shown to The Star, Sheffield’s director of public health Greg Fell wrote: “Thousands of residents in Sheffield have received their first dose to date. I heard the sites had used up their initial stock and more is not due to be delivered till early January.

"Of course this is disappointing. This isn’t just a Sheffield issue it is a national supply issue, I have heard from many places Sheffield is actually ahead of the curve on this one.”